At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon.
People are discussing this drivel as if we were not talking about two career comedians meek and polite enough for mainstream media to give them prime time multi-million dollar shows, but political radicals behind whom millions galvanised to over throw society and build a new political order!
Please forgive me not confusing a good joke for political and social dissent. I apologise for not seeing The Daily Show to be an important manifesto.
In America, as elsewhere where genuine political dissent is monitored and policed by our intelligence, we have to see why that ‘celebrated’ faux-dissent is encouraged.
Comedy denudes issues of urgency and the human will to act. It finds a way to make us laugh at torture, social deprivation, racism, war and murder. It makes acceptable what ought to be intolerable and seduced us into a place where we come to believe that describing and articulating something as a joke is an act. and it lets us feel that having laughed, we have somehow done and acted. for after all, we laughed st the fools and that sets us apart from them.
Comedy has become the anesthesia our capitalist societies are given so that we can accept the unacceptable. So that we can indulge in inaction while thinking we are acting. Comedy is the posture we adopt when critical thinking and critical engagement are lost.
Yes, The Daily Show can be funny. It can also be insidious. It is always pro-establishment. Just look at the large number of beltway usual that have been given a forum there, the many ridiculous and conventional ‘foreigners’ that have been welcomed there (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dictator Musharraf, to name two vile figures) and the absolutely unthinking support for the Democratic party that is revealed, and even that ridiculously comic moment when The DaiLy Show became a party political platform during election period.
Political Comedy is lazy. It is easy. It absolves us from appreciating the dire seriousness of what we may be laughing at. It finds a way to disarm our anger, our ability to be moved to political outrage and social engagement. For over a decade, as our democratic responsibility and sensibility has retreated in the face of a corporate and political assault (to say nothing pf the Supreme Courts collusion), we are today merely laughing at ourselves.
Jon Stewart. Trevor Noah. This entire excitement is a load of nonsense. People tying their sense of political engagement to a bunch of millionaire show business tools have entirely surrendered their connection tp their society and to their individual political responsibility.